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Public Health Rep. 1989 Mar-Apr;104(2):111-20.

Firearms injuries and deaths: a critical public health issue. American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs.

[No authors listed]


The prevention of firearm deaths and injuries is one of the most complex and controversial issues facing the public health profession in recent years. Laws have been enacted to control or discourage private gun ownership, and especially to eliminate guns from the hands of criminals, but the laws' effects in reducing crime and firearm-related injuries and deaths have been disappointing. Gunshot wounds are the 12th leading cause of death in the United States and more than half of all suicides are committed with guns. There are virtually no reliable data on the number of nonfatal firearm injuries. One of the most troubling aspects of handgun violence is that children often are the victims. Educational efforts have been attempted to promote the safer use of firearms, but they have not led to a significant reduction in the number of fatalities, since most firearm incidents are intended to do harm.

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